The Quezon City Government recognizes the concerns raised by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez in her statement to immediately close and rehabilitate the Payatas Sanitary Landfill (Payatas SLF) due to its relative proximity to the La Mesa Watershed. It has, in fact, undertaken efforts to gradually phase out the landfill in the past few years.
It is the immediacy of Secretary Lopez’s directive that is being asked for consideration, since the target closure has been September 2017. The implementation of the closure order has to consider a lot of factors that will entail major adjustments in the City’s solid waste management system.
In actual fact, the QCG has already been studying feasible alternative landfills even before the issuance of such statement. A study conducted by the Quezon City Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (QC-EPWMD) simulated various operational impacts should the closure of the Payatas Sanitary Landfill be warranted:
- The City, through its service contractors, deploys an estimated 500 trucks of varying volume capacities daily (e.g. 10-wheeler trucks, 6-wheeler trucks, mini-dump trucks and compactor-type trucks).
Such number of vehicles would invariably affect the traffic situation in the alternative landfill to be utilized by QCG, be it the Rizal Provincial Landfill in Rodriguez, Rizal, the Navotas-Tanza Sanitary Landfill via Pier 18, Vitas Marine Loading Station or elsewhere. Hence, it is important to consider traffic impacts resulting from the change in the collection-disposal route of trucks since this will also have an effect on the garbage collection efficiency currently enjoyed by QC constituents.
- The change in the location of the City’s disposal facility would also necessitate major adjustments in the City’s waste collection schedule. In so doing, there should be an aggressive Information, Education and Communication (IEC) efforts to adequately inform and prepare the City’s constituents.
- The additional distance leading to the nearest alternative landfill as well as a higher dumping fee would also mean an increase in hauling cost for the City’s contractors. In said study, hauling wastes to the Rizal Provincial Landfill would require an additional hauling cost close to three hundred million pesos (PHP 300,000,000.00) for the QCG.
- The study also noted that there may be a necessity to diversify the disposal of wastes by the City to at least two alternative landfills. given the magnitude and volume of the City’s wastes. Quezon City, being the biggest and highly dense metro city, has by far the largest amount of wastes generated at an estimated 2,700 tons per day.
- The equivalent amount of time and action needed by the Executive branch and the City Council to allocate available city funds for this purpose is also one crucial factor.
- Another socio-economic factor to be considered is the livelihood of wastepickers who will be affected by the planned closure of the landfill. Since their sources of income are derived mainly from the sale of recyclables from the Payatas SLF, preparing them to find alternative means of living shall be a burden to be carried upon by the QCG.
The QCG is addressing every necessary step to address the concerns of the DENR Secretary. To this extent, the QCG appeals to the Sec. Lopez that the City be given sufficient time to prepare for all the vital adjustments to ensure minimal impact to the City’s solid waste management system.
The City’s waste hauling contract is due to end in September 2017 and will serve as a pivotal moment to ensure the smooth transition for the City to dispose of its wastes in other identified alternative landfill sites.
Communications Coordination Center (CCC, QC-LGU)